If Tom Brady leads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to another Super Bowl in 2021, offensive lineman Joe Haeg won’t get another shot to catch a touchdown pass from him.
Haeg became the second Bucs player from the 2020 Super Bowl team to sign elsewhere on Saturday, agreeing to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
Haeg started in three games for the Bucs in 2020 and played in 12. He also played snaps in all four playoff games, including the Super Bowl when he missed his moment in the spotlight.
Brady threw a pass to Haeg in the back of the end zone during the second quarter, but Haeg couldn’t grab it as Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens pushed him. The Bucs turned it over on downs at the goal line two plays later but forced the Chiefs to punt shortly after.
Broadcast Jeff Eisenband quipped Brady was “looking for Mike Vrabel, but threw it to Joe Haeg.” Vrabel, a former New England Patriots linebacker, caught a touchdown pass from Brady in the Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers.
Haeg will need Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to give him the opportunity if the team can make it through the AFC playoffs next season. Brady will need to look for another unique target in the Super Bowl should the Bucs make it again.
ALL the latest Bucs news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bucs newsletter here!
Short Stint in Tampa
Haeg signed with the Bucs on March 21, 2020, a day after Brady officially signed.
The former fifth-round pick played for the Indianapolis Colts from 2016 to 2019. He made 35 career starts in 55 games with the Colts.
Haeg didn’t start regularly with the Bucs blocked for field goals and extra points per Sports Illustrated’s All Bucs. He made his first start for the Bucs in Week 7 against the Las Vegas Raiders and started again in the Bucs’ Week 8 win against the New York Giants. His third and final start of the regular season didn’t go as well in a Week 9 drubbing by the New Orleans Saints.
He never started in the playoffs, but he helped the Bucs take down the Saints in the Divisional Round, playing 23 percent of the offensive snaps per Pro Football Reference. His high for the playoffs came in the Super Bowl where he played 31 percent of the offensive snaps and 22 percent of the defensive snaps.
Haeg Tweeted “GG” after the Super Bowl victory, which was met with former college offensive line teammate Tyler Gimestad ribbing him about not catching the ball from Brady.
Similar College Moment
Haeg knows about gadget quarterback throws in championship games, playing for a Division I program that wins with Brady-like efficiency.
He blocked for a gadget play between two future NFL quarterbacks when playing for North Dakota State in the 2016 FCS national championship game. Backup quarterback Easton Stick, now with the Los Angeles Chargers, threw it to starter Carson Wentz, now with the Indianapolis Colts.
The play didn’t pan out as Wentz couldn’t catch it, and Jacksonville State intercepted it. Inconsequential in the end as Haeg and company won a fifth-consecutive national title with a 37-10 victory.
Haeg went back to his college town on Saturday for the Bison’s showdown with in-state rival North Dakota per Mike McFeely of the Fargo Forum.